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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Gerry likes Garcia for Manny

By Joaquin Henson
08 Feb 2019

While Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is making up his mind whether or not to fight WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao, former two-time world titlist Gerry Penalosa said yesterday Philadelphia brawler Danny Garcia would be a perfect opponent for the Filipino icon in case the Money Man from Grand Rapids bails out of a rematch.

“Garcia is made-to-order for Manny,” said Penalosa who was backed up by Japanese investors in paying Pacquiao $2.5 Million for the Philippine TV rights to the Adrien Broner fight in Las Vegas last month. “I think he’ll be a more suitable opponent than Keith Thurman. Garcia won’t run. He’ll engage and fight Manny toe-to-toe. He’s the kind of opponent to reestablish Manny’s reputation as still one of the most exciting fighters in the world today. He won’t back down. It’ll be a fight to remember.”

Thurman, 30, is the reigning super WBA welterweight ruler and is fresh from repulsing challenge Josesito Lopez on a majority 12-round decision in Brooklyn last Jan 26. Thurman was coming off a nearly two-year layoff to recover from elbow and hand injuries. His record is 29-0, with 22 KOs. Thurman looked shaky against Lopez on several occasions and was nearly brought down in the seventh round. He looms as Pacquiao’s next opponent if Mayweather isn’t available. Since Thurman is in Al Haymon’s stable with Premier Boxing Champions, it’ll be easy to arrange a fight against Pacquiao. Haymon, who is Mayweather’s adviser, has a working arrangement to co-promote Pacquiao’s fights after his split with Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

Garcia, 30, is also in Haymon’s stable. What Penalosa likes about Garcia is unlike Thurman and Broner, he won’t run away from Pacquiao. The 5-8 1/2 slugger holds knockout wins over former world titlists Amir Khan, Brandon Rios, Erik Morales and Paul Malignaggi. Other former world champions he’s beaten are Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse and Robert Guerrero. He started his pro career with a 33-0 record, including 19 KOs, four in the first round and six in the second.

Garcia’s record is 34-2, with 20 KOs and his only losses were decisions to Thurman (split) and Shawn Porter. He’s set to take on Adrian Granados, who once dropped a split decision to Broner, on April 20. Garcia is a former WBC/WBA superlightweight and WBC welterweight champion.

Resilience is Garcia’s middle name. Writer Carlos Acevedo said resilience explains much of his success in the ring. “Garcia appeared overmatched against Khan before deciding to stand his ground and mix it up in hopes of landing a game-changer,” he wrote in Boxing News of London. “Not long after making that bold adjustment, Garcia sent Khan toppling with a corkscrewing left hook. And against Matthysse, Garcia survived a mid-rounds surge to pull away for the win. Determination, combined with solid fundamentals, is what makes Garcia a much tougher assignment than most expect to encounter based on a skillset devoid of flash and filigree.” Acevedo described Garcia as “an accurate counter-puncher … who is at his worst against movers and shakers.”

Garcia, who has established his own clothing line and appeared in rap videos, is trained by his outspoken father Angel. It was Angel who once philosophized on boxing, saying, “it’s about the bank being loaded, it’s not about the glory.”

For sure, if Garcia faces Pacquiao, the fight will be an attractive pay-per-view event. If Pacquiao’s fight against Broner drew about 425,000 hits, a duel with Garcia should easily surpass it. Garcia is a lot more explosive and exciting than Broner. But Pacquiao’s priority is to take on Mayweather in a rematch. In 2015, Pacquiao and Mayweather figured in the richest fight ever, both in pay-per-view and box office sales. Pacquiao lost a unanimous 12-round decision that was tainted because in the fourth round, the Filipino badly hurt his right shoulder and fought one-armed the rest of the way. The shoulder was injured in training camp and the affliction was aggravated during the bout.

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